Based on current El Niño forecast the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society is requesting to trigger first stage Early Actions under the EAP for Drought. The activation of the EAP for drought is based on a two- stage trigger, which allows for long lead time that can address a series of expected drought impacts. The IBF Drought model utilises five meteorological indicators, which are monitored throughout the agriculture season, as forecast features for drought, with increasing certainty as the season progresses. Combining ENSO1 forecasts, CHIRPS2 Data and the Vegetation Condition Index, the forecast model runs on a monthly basis starting from September (7 months lead time to end of season). The model is informed by two separate trigger events which will activate sets of impact mitigating Early Actions. According to the trigger statement of the Early Action Protocol, the following will result in an activation of the protocol:
First Trigger: A forecast of an El Niño event, with an impact level corresponding to once-in-six-year event, will act as the first trigger for low investment Early Actions (Early warning disseminations, drought tolerant seed distributions and livestock dosing).
Second Trigger: A forecast of IPC4 conditions in the FEWSnet Food Security Forecast Reports in both March and June will trigger the second set of early actions that address drought induced food insecurity (livestock support, multi-purpose Cash Transfers and school supplemental feeding)
There is a greater than 95% chance that El Niño will continue through the Zimbabwean summer. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the tropical Pacific are exceeding El Niño thresholds, with climate models indicating this is likely to continue at least through to March 2024. The most recent IRI plume indicates El Niño will persist through the Zimbabwean summer 2023-24. Forecasters favour continued growth of El Niño through the fall, peaking this summer with moderate-to-strong intensity (81% chance of November-January Niño-3.4 ≥ 1.0°C). An event that becomes “historically strong” (seasonally averaged Niño-3.4 ≥ 2.0°C), rivalling the summers of 199798 or 2015-16, has an approximately 1 in 5 chance.
The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is currently neutral. Climate model forecasts suggest a positive IOD is likely to develop in September or October. A positive IOD typically decreases early summer rainfall for much of Southern Africa and can exacerbate the drying influence from El Niño. These conditions have reached the trigger level 1 for the Binga Drought EAP activation.Post published in: Agriculture